Watching Morning Joe this morning helped to clarify my understanding of the “problems” that the media is saying President Obama has with his supporters, or more accurately, those who voted for him. Tim Dickinson from Rolling Stone was on talking about his article called “No We Can’t” about how the field operations for the Obama campaign, the grassroots folks haven’t been included in his administration. As if we were all going to follow him to Washington and we’d have his Blackberry number to give him our opinion on things. Most of the impatience with the president and the stories the media has been pushing are based, in my opinion, on complaints from a few who are novices at how things work in Washington. Many are people who never paid attention to politics before Obama came along, so they are naive to the way things work in Washington. Of course the media, who does know, plays along with them to get a story. They rarely point out the practical reality of how things work in Washington and the limited power that the executive branch really has in the process.
To Tim Dickinson’s point about this army of supporters who were going to march on Washington and change things. Well, once Obama was elected, most, if not all of them moved on with their lives, work, play, all those mundane things we all do when there isn’t a presidential election to obsess over. Maybe some thought they would get cabinet positions or have that direct line to the president, but found out that an election does have an end date, it’s called election day. When someone wins a race, they don’t keep running back and crossing the finish line over and over again. The race is over at that point with the next one in 4 years. Seasoned political observers know this and retreat to their easy chairs for a few years until the troops need to be mobilized again. So why have a few of the idealogues who projected all their hopes and dreams on President Obama, unrealistically I might add, gained so much prominence in the media? The answer is that the media loves that kind of story, it sells papers and increases viewers, it’s like Hollywood gossip or a jilted lover story. The health care battle is a prime example of the naiveté of people like Jane Hamsher and Arianna Huffington who seem to relish the contrarian position, motivated by clicks on their websites and donations to their many “non-profits” that they have attached to their money making ventures. Do they really think that if the president had just been more forceful in pushing single payer, universal health care for all, squash the insurance industry-type policies that Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln etc. would have just fallen in line?
The republicans have been fanning these flames too, they love what’s happening on the left, the infighting, the trashing of Obama for not being more liberal, the unrealistic ideas about how Washington works, they feed the fire with kindling. Joe Scarborough has made a living out of it on his morning show. He loves to bring on Arianna Huffington, Mark Halperin, John Heileman, and anyone else who likes to talk about process and spin things to the right. I also notice how when he does have Eugene Robinson or someone else who might actually deal in reality, he often asks them stupid questions about Tiger Woods or Sarah Palin, or he changes the subject to sports or whatever. He deflects any comments that might actually go against the narrative he is working so hard to promote for the Republican Party. Morning Joe is a well oiled propoganda machine for the Republicans.